So many lists and awards announcements this week you'd think it was... oh, yes, it is December. Sight and Sound enter the fray now with their top 20 which is a mix of expected auteur worship titles, festival films that may or may not ever actually open. It's also very now. The oldest title here is the great German continuous shot film Victoria (which premiered at festivals last year -- we nominated it for cinematography in 2015) but almost everything else just opened or hasn't opened yet! It's to be expected but also deeply frustrating that distributors never really catch up to film buzz...
Entries in film critics (160)
The New York Film Critics Circle was founded way back in 1935 when the Oscars were just 8 years old themselves. In their first year they agreed but disagreed with the NYFCC choosing The Informer and Oscar following suit with a Best Picture nomination for that but the eventual prize to Mutiny on the Bounty. Not much has really changed since. The NYFCC aesthetics aren't anti-Oscar but they're just as likely to go slightly left of field with a more challenging option as their #1 as they are to pre-stamp a future winner.
Here's what they chose this year...
Los Angeles Times Lily Tomlin's classic one woman show The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe is being relaunched in LA as a 12 person play (!)
/Film Rogue One releases its final trailer. I'm personally not watching(I like to save something for the movie theater) but it's here if you want it
Variety JK Rowling will never leave us alone. Five films are planned in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise.
Tracking Board here's interesting news. Mark Rylance will team with Embrace of the Serpent director Ciro Guerra for a movie based on a 1980 Nobel prize winning book called Waiting for the Barbarians
Deadline Netflix in the lead to get The Helicopter Heist starring Jake Gyllenhaal
The New Yorker on Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize in literature
Interview talks to rising star Ben Schetzer (Pride, Goat, Warcraft)
The New Republic Miriam Bale on both of the new films about Christine Chubbuck, Christine (starring Rebecca Hall) and the experimental documentary Kate Plays Christine.
EW It's come to this. We know have "power lists" in magazines not of actors or producers but of superheroes. Wonder Woman is currently #1
In Contention supporting/lead options open w/ Viola in Fences & The Bening in 20th Century
Awards Daily Annette Bening will be honored at AFI
Towleroad Kristen Stewart talking up her current relationship with Alicia Cargile
Boy Culture Miley Cyrus on her pansexuality
Playbill There will be a live audience for Hairspray Live on NBC- website coming soon with how to apply!
Has the Whole World Gone Insane?
Film Comment are film critics losing sight of film in the rush for content / social media?
IndieWire interviews the man behind the satire twitter account "Arthouse Donald Trump" which was hilarious and prismatically accurate of loudmouth cinephiles and Trump
Daily Beast Billy Bush is now attempting to drag NBC down with him into the mud after his "Pussygate" suspension - classy!
Gothamist a Talking Trump Zoltar machine appears in Brooklyn spewing prophesies
THR the whole Devin Faraci (Birth. Movies. Death editor) story that blew up this week when a former colleague accused him of touching her without her consent
Awards Daily ...airs a different perspective, mourning the loss of Faraci's voice against misogyny in the fanboy community, particularly during Gaming Gate.
Harry Belafonte's company produces this PSA on police brutality. Actors Michael B Jordan and Danny Glover and other luminaries star
by Nathaniel R
Anyone fearing a fiasco like Naomi's Diana or Nicole's Grace of Monaco can breathe a sigh of relief in regards to the latest prestige pic about an obsessed-over hugely influential royal icon household name. Pablo Larraín's Jackie, a portrait of the most famous First Lady in the wake of her husband's assassination, is getting great ink. Variety and The Hollywood Reporter are tossing out blurb-ready words like "remarkable," "meticulous," "profound," "incandescent" and many many more slobbery adjectives. (Though it should be noted that Larraín makes tough movies that never coddle audiences which might prevent this from being a breakout.)
Anyone fearing another round of Natalie Portman Mania at the Oscars might want to tense up, though. Her reviews are truly glowing. Will Natalie get to quote her Black Swan self about Oscar a second time?
He picked me, Mommy.
Index (43 minutes)
00:01 Acting training, Geraldine Page, and critics who "get" acting
06:45 Glenn Close and Robert Redford Reveries in The Natural
14:00 The quality of acting fields & self-selecting "Oscar movies"
20:45 Romancing the Stone and the "realm of fantasy" versus the "gritty" farm wife movies. Why do some movies hold up so well over time?
27:00 Peggy Ashcroft and Lindsay Crouse. Plus: making out with Ed Harris.
33:00 The rumors about Swing Shift and Jonathan Demme's original cut. Did we lose a masterpiece?
40:18 Sheila's connection to Gena Rowland's Honorary Oscar.
You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversations in the comments, won't you?
P.S. Read more about Sheila's Gena Rowlands tribute here.
Thrillist "Why everyone was wrong about Warcraft" - the summer's most underrated movie?
MNPP great moments in movie shelves hits Young Frankenstein
The Wrap looks at Colton Haynes winning an HRC award. Why Colton, exactly?
Criterion Louis Garrel chooses movies from the Criterion closet. He likes Jacques Tati, Loves of a Blonde, and Amarcord among others
FlavorWire looks back at Madonna & Sean's Shanghai Surprise in its Bad Movie Night column
Telerama (in French) Alain Guirardie talks about his filmography - he thinks he can do better than Stranger by the Lake!
SBS hilarious satire video on White Fragility in the Workplace
Slate pits Bad Moms against Ghostbusters because women have to be pitted against each other!
NY Times on current film restoration anxiety asking the following question which I swear is going to give me regular nightmares:
What happens to an art when its foundational medium disappears?
Today's Must Read
Richard Brody at the New Yorker wrote a great piece called "Why Movies Still Matter?" that examines the critical circularity that leads people to write things like "Could This Be the Year Movies Stopped Mattering?” We're all inside this ororborus! Help. My favorite part is his contention that the rise in popularity of serial television is actually emulating the college experience. Interesting.
The experience that the watching and the critique of new serial television resemble above all is the college experience. Binge-watching is cramming, and the discussions that are sparked reproduce academic habits: What It Says About, What It Gets Right About, What It Gets Wrong About. There is a lot of aboutness but very little being; lots of puzzle-like assembling of information to pose particular kinds of questions (posing questions—sounds like a final exam), to explore particular issues (sounds like a term paper). For these reasons, television’s actual competition isn’t movies or museums or novels but nonfiction books, documentary films, journalism, radio discussions, and general online clicking. Serial television is designed to gratify the craving for facts to piece together and analyze. The medium seems created for the media buzz that’s generated by the media people who are its natural audience, and to whom the shows owe their acclaim, their prestige, and their success.
Then he goes on to investigate the personal versus the public in our cinema experience. Love this piece. So much to think about and not judgmental about those film or television! Or to quote another great writer...
TV and movies have been coexisting for decades, yet the number of people insisting one must vanquish the other remains constant.— Farran Nehme (@selfstyledsiren) August 29, 2016
EW Emily Blunt hears what Julie Andrews says about her casting as Mary Poppins Returns
Guardian Anne Hathaway to star in Live Fast Die Hot the adaptation of a bestseller about new motherhood and responsibility
Variety Richard Linklater is making a sequel (of a sort) to The Last Detail (1973) called Last Flag Flying
/Film early photos from Woody Allen's Crisis in Six Scenes, his new streaming series
Towleroad Matt Bomer has signed on to play a trans sex worker in a new film called Anything. They're still not casting trans actors for trans roles which is a shame. Especially since we actually have famous trans actors now, proof that there's no reason to not cast them or think they can't win media attention themselves
Variety Stranger Things renewed for Season 2. (I liked Season 1 but a continuation of that story seems like a mistake to me. Better an anthology template!)
Comics Alliance Stranger Things' breakout "Barb" (Shannon Purser) will guest star on CW's Archie adaptation Riverdale
Awards Daily Warren Beatty's Rules Don't Apply will open the AFI Fest this year in November
In case you haven't heard ABC and Oscar have extended their contract. The Oscars will now be held on ABC through 2028 now. In extremely related news: 2028 is when the 100th Academy Awards will be held so imagine that centennial. If you'd like TFE to be around for that (so far away) please consider joining our monthly donaters --see sidebar -- because it's so not easy to keep making this site work each year, financially speaking.
by Nathaniel R
Though we may collectively scratch our head at the need to do 21st century best of lists so often and at odd intervals. After 16 years? Ermm, okay? Lists usually get people talking. The BBC polled 177 critics (of which I was, alas, not one) and the results were both enjoyable and annoying, as with all lists.
• I won't see Toni Erdmann for another few weeks so I can't speak to its quality but it's odd to see it on a "best of the century list" when the film has only opened in one country (France) outside of its home countries (Germany/Austria). It starts opening in other countries next month and also hits the Toronto Film Festival. So that seems...early
• Did Christopher Nolan really need 3 pictures in the top 100? I maintain that Inception does not hold up and is relentlessly and numbingly expository for anything beyond a single viewing and it's even kind of annoying during that first plunge. Cinema about dreams should be mysterious...